November 16th, 2012 11:30PM
I felt a cool drop of water run down my forehead, onto my temple and the touch of warm, soft skin on my hand when my vision started returning after hours of unconsciousness. Annie Simmons, my neighbor from across the street, was pressing a damp rag on my forehead, with my head in her lap. I sat up, quickly.
“Are you alright, Miles?” Annie asked. “Your front door has been opened for hours. I came over to check on you and you were passed out on the floor here. Was there a break in, or something?”
“No, I’m really not sure what’s going on.”
“Is everything alright?”
“Things are fine, Annie. Thanks for checking on me.”
“Well,” she said,” I was just wondering because you had your door opened for so long, like I said. Are you sure everything’s alright?”
“Fine.” I nodded.
Annie’s face squinted in confused concern. She stood up, straightened her clothes and walked out the door. I followed her out.
“Thanks again, Annie.” I cried after her. She turned around, waived, and quickened her pace across the street. I pulled the door closed behind me as I entered the house.
“I’m sorry I hurt you.”
Rump’s voice came from the kitchen. He was completely visible when I rounded the entry way. I ran into the kitchen to grab him, but he disappeared.
“Come out here, you fucking pussy. You’re not going to get off without an explanation.”
I started swinging my fists around my kitchen aimlessly, never making contact with any part of Rump’s body.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wanted to help.”
He had reappeared across from me, against the living room wall.
For the first time since we had met, he was speaking complete, reasonable sentences. I stood in silence as he talked, knowing he would vanish if I ran towards him again.
“Everything’s broken in me, Miles.” His voice carried a penitent sadness that led to soft sobbing. “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” He said. Then he disappeared.
November 17th, 2012 2:30AM
I woke up on the couch in my living room. Sketches of Spain was playing, and there was a bottle turned on its side, sitting on my coffee table next to a sweaty glass, half full of scotch that had been thinned by melted ice. I watched the clock on the wall and finished the watered down drink.
The way the second hand fell out of tempo with the music bothered me, so I turned off the album and filled my glass again. I stepped outside in the cold to finish my drink. Rebecca was sitting in my rocking chair, shivering. I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her inside.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Where did you go after I passed out?” I shouted.
“You invited me here, first of all.” She pulled her arm from my hand. “And, it’s none of your goddamn business where I went. You’re the one who went narcoleptic on me. Why the fuck are you chewing me out?”
“You left the door opened!” I said. “I had a nosy neighbor lady breathing down my neck, acting suspicious, and getting in my shit because of you!”
“Big fuckin’ deal, you pussy.” She kept shouting as I started towards the stairs. “Oh, poor Miles has neighbors who care enough about his well-being to check in on him! Poor Miles! Poor you!”
I heard the howling of a neighborhood dog on my way up the stairs. I went to the shower to wash the blood out of my hair, ignoring Rebecca’s jibes on the way.
I pulled the curtain closed and stuck my head in the falling, hot water droplets. The beating of each one on my already aching head drowned out all other noise and pulled me into a trance. I watched as my own diluted blood ran down my neck and over my face and swirled down the drain. “She did it,” I thought. “She’s a murderer, and, just like Breathless and Rumple Minze, she’s here to ruin my life.”
I dressed quickly and ran downstairs to confront her. She was sitting on my couch, drinking scotch from the bottle.
M: “How long have you lived here?” I asked.
R: “Not long.”
M: “Where are you from?”
R: “Red Lodge, Montana. You?”
M: “I’ve been here my whole life.”
R: “Do you like it?”
M: “The liquor store is less than 5 miles from my house, so it’s fine I guess.”
R: “That’s a classy place, isn’t it? That was the first time I’d been there since I moved here.”
M: “So, are you homeless, or just dumb?”
M: “You were walking around outside in the cold without a jacket. Not only that, but I found you sitting in my rocking-chair, shivering. So, it stands to reason that you are either homeless, or you’re just dumb.”
R: “I didn’t bring a jacket.”
M: “That’s fine. Let’s just go to your place and grab your jacket. Where do you live?”
Rebecca took a sip from the bottle, paused, and took another, looking off into space as I stared at her; waiting.
M: “Northside? One of the ‘burbs?”
R: “I’m between living arrangements as it stands.”
M: “And what about your jacket?”
R: “I don’t have one.”
R: “What’s with the barrage of questions, Lie To Me?”
M: “I’m just curious. Why are you so bad at nicknames?”
R: “It’s genetics.”
M: “You’re dumb.”
November 17th, 2012 3:45 AM
The pair of women’s pants I had was slightly too big for Rebecca, so I loaned her a belt. She took a shirt from my closet, and a heavy, red blazer as a jacket.
“Time to go.” I said.
“The liquor store.”
On the drive over I had reminded myself that Ed could’ve killed himself. It also could’ve been Rump. I didn’t want to start an execrable interrogation of any of them, either. Rump was insane and I liked Rebecca, so I didn’t press the issue with either of them.
Police tape was stretched around the perimeter and over the front door of The Drunken Redhead, but there were no cars in sight. The lock on the front door had been broken for a while, so we were able to walk in without tripping any alarms or breaking anything.
Rebecca walked toward the Tennessee Honey, grabbed a small bottle, and put it in her inside coat pocket.
“What the hell happened here?” she asked
“A friend of mine died.”
“The fat guy?”
“Yeah, the fat guy.”
“How did it happen?”
She unscrewed the cap to her drink and waited. While she drank, I paced around behind the counter. Ed’s coffee mug was gone, but a few of its shattered pieces had been left behind. I moved one around with my foot. Rebecca seemed apathetic about the whole thing. I assumed it was because she didn’t know Ed.
Rebecca pulled herself on top of the counter and spun around. She looked at me and smiled.
“It’s awfully romantic of you, taking me to a place where a guy died only a few hours ago.” She said. She laughed quietly and took another drink. A car pulled into the parking lot, so we left in a hurry.
She recommended that we drive around for a minute before heading home. I decided to get to know her better.
“What’s your story?” I asked.
“Well,” she thought for a minute. “I grew up in southern Montana. My dad is a successful divorce lawyer. I’ve never met my biological mother. My dad never said what the fuck happened to her. He’s been married three times, usually to women that are much younger than him. His most recent wife was only a few years older than me. We fought about that for a while. I told him it was super creepy for him to have a wife that’s young enough to be my sister, but he doesn’t give a shit. He thinks he can throw money at every conflict.”
“That must be nice.”
“It was, for a while. The party scene in Montana is great, so I wasted a lot of time and money barred out or high.”
“Barred out? Are you a gangster rapper, and you’re just now telling me?”
She didn’t laugh.
“Everything was just fine, up until about a month ago. He started bringing this younger male client over. He was a doctor, or a lawyer, or something. I didn’t really pay attention. His wife was a lesbian or something. They were getting a nasty divorce. One day, Daddy left for a few minutes, but Dr.Dick stayed behind. I went into Dad’s office and started talking to him–what’s-his-face, esquire, that is. We built a rapport very quickly. When Dad got back, he and I were entangled in an impure mist of bodily fluids. He caught me and the good doctor. I’ve never seen a man turn yellow so fast. Dr.Cock jumped out of bed and started apologizing, saying I had seduced him. I called him out. I told my dad that before he caught us, the doc was saying ‘ooh baby, ooh hell yeah, honey take of that party dress.’ He just told me that it was time to find a new place to live. I had a few bucks saved up, so I bought a bus ticket and came here.”
I felt bad for Rebecca, but she didn’t seem like she was interested in being treated like the victim. I tried to ease some of the tension.
“Did you just quote a Tom Petty song?” I asked.
“I can’t believe I thought you were cool.”
“Well, if you need a place to stay, my door is always opened.” I said.
“Thanks.” She said.
After driving around for a while, I decided to take her to a local park. The sign said Cougar’s Cock Park, thanks to a 12 year old with a can of spray paint—I am assuming. She thought it was the best name for any park she’d ever visited.
We walked around for a little while and talked about what she wanted to do with her life. She didn’t seem to have much ambition at all, which was fine with me. I was quickly becoming very fond of her and didn’t want to have to suffer the execrable misfortune of having to become a better person around her. She was a horrible person. I could be at my absolute worst, and she would still be a little worse than me. She was also beautiful. I feel cold to my soul when I think about the powerful lust I have for her soft, warm skin. She had a perpetual smile and beautiful hazel eyes. She kept her hair in braided pigtails and shifted around with nervous grace when she talked.
She had been nursing her liquor for quite some time. As the night was drawing to a close, she started babbling about bees, but she passed out before she finished making her point—if there was one. I carried her out of the park, to the car, to the front door, up the stairs, to my bed. I covered her up and went downstairs.
I’d given up all hope on getting any sleep, so I smoked a blunt. Rump materialized on the seat opposite mine.
“She did it.” He said.
“Go away, Rump. Now is not the time.”
“She did it. She drank his drink and she did it.”
I tried and failed to blow smoke rings while Rump babbled.
“The worst is yet to come, Miles. I’m trying to help you.”
“Yeah, well, you already said that I should be worried. But, you know what? You’re nuts. And Rebecca is sweet. I like her. So, I’m not listening to you. Shut the fuck up.”
“The fucking kiss of death, man. She has it. She took a sip from his drink. That’s what killed him. Just listen, Miles.”
“Hey, you didn’t stutter like a moron.”
“I’m getting better, M. I feel better already.”
Rumple Minze disappeared again. I blew misshapen springs and flattened figure eights for an hour or so before I passed out. When I woke up, there was a tall, strong man in my living room in a brown wool suit.